Investigating the Connections between Oil and Gas Industry

Investigating the Connections between Oil and Gas Industry Affiliation
and Climate Change Perceptions
Susan Schrader, Scyller Borglum, Chris Danielson – Montana Tech
Central Questions
In discussions about climate change, it is not
uncommon to bring up the participants’
professional affiliations. The question posed
by this ongoing research is whether or not that
affiliation is relevant in the case when the
commenter works in the oil and gas industry.
The central question to this work is: Will a professional working in the oil and gas industry look at climate change data
differently than a professional with similar background working in other industries?
Two questions on the survey address this. The first asks if the respondent works in the O/G industry, and the second is “Is
there solid evidence of climate change?”
The second question responses were scaled as follows:
Yes – mainly because of human activity :
score of 3
Yes – mainly because of natural patterns:
score of 2
Maybe – evidence is mixed:
score of 1
score of 0
When the responses were separated into the O/G and non O/G group, the mean responses of 2.364 for the O/G industry
group and 2.857 for the non O/G group is beginning to look significant, with a P-value of 10%. The following figure shows the
current distribution of responses:
To investigate this, a survey has been designed
and is being given to engineering and technical
professionals in both the O&G industry and in
other science and engineering fields. Current
results show investigation worthy differences
as well as a few similarities between the two
The survey is being given to various engineers,
scientists, and other related individuals. Efforts
are being taken to ensure sufficient response
from both O&G and non O&G professionals.
The target group will have a similar level of
education in STEM disciplines.
The 20 question survey is distributed
electronically through Survey Monkey, and has
been sent to professional organizations,
college alumni, and other appropriate groups.
The survey instrument was designed by a
multidisciplinary group of faculty and graduate
students at Montana Tech, including
petroleum engineering, general engineering
and history faculty.
Responses will continue to be collected and a
paper detailing the full suite of results will be
Non O/G
11 13
The next step looks at the respondents feelings about mitigation efforts. A number of survey questions dealt with this. These
questions included ones about the whether government spending and regulations were at an appropriate level, and our
ability to mitigate climate change at all. The following charts show the different distribution of the answer to the question:
The United States’ laws restricting pollution should be:
Education and
Knowledge of Climate Change
While all respondents had some college
education, at this time the percentage of
graduate degrees is higher among the
respondents in the non O&G group (73% to
30%). This may be due to the high number of
jobs available in the O&G industry to
candidates with bachelors degrees, related
to the shortages of workers.
Within the O&G industry group, it appears
that those with a graduate degree are much
more likely to attribute climate change to
human activity then those with a bachelors.
Of the oil and gas professionals with
graduate degrees. 67% believed climate
change was caused by human activity
compared with 38% of the group with
bachelors degrees.
The O&G group is much more likely to
believe that there is no consensus among
scientists about global warming, a belief
that was held by less than 10% of the non
industry professionals
Other Data Collected
Other data collected from the survey which
will be analyzed and presented include the
gender, religious affiliations, political
affiliations and answers to other questions
about the nature climate change, the best
alternative energy sources on the horizon,
and the amount of effort that should be put
into climate change mitigation .
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